It’s no secret that Chicago has a deep and passionate running culture. In this edition of get to know your running clubs we hopped on a call with Joe Sobus, founder of The Warriors Running Group, to learn a little more about this Chicago running club.
How long has your club been around?
The Warriors became an “official” group in 2012 but things actually got started in 2011. I was doing a 100 day training build for a marathon when a few of my friends became interested in my training, we started running together and supporting one another, things just grew from there.
Tell us a bit about your membership? What level of runners do you cater to?
Our membership is open to runners of all levels, and we encourage people to come out and run with us regardless of their fitness level. We really value our community, and have fantastic support systems and training plans that are designed to help our members achieve their goals. When you get down to it, our philosophy is really about coming out and enjoying yourself. We see running as a way to have fun, to build relationships with people, and to get to know our communities better. The rest (personal records, goals, etc.) will fall into place.
We recently launched the Little Warriors Program which is a 6-week training program for children between the ages of 6-12. This program was designed to promote health/wellness, fitness, leadership skills and sportsmanship all while training kids to run their first 5k race. We’re really excited about it! More information on the program can be found HERE.
The most important thing we’d like to note about the Little Warriors Program is that the children are sponsored by businesses within the community, they are budding athletes not charity cases. We feel it is very important to instill in the Little Warriors that even their communities expect their best effort, in all aspects of their lives.
Where does your club usually meet/run? What days and times?
The Warriors meet and run almost every day of the week in different locations in and around Chicago. You can find all of the information about our club meet-ups and group runs on our website, www.wrgrun.com as well as on our Facebook page. We currently have weekly runs that happen in Pilsen, Cicero, Bensenville, Midway, and Portage/Jefferson Park.
Anything else we should know about membership?
Once you are a member know that you’ll have a tribe of Warriors committed to helping you achieve your goals! However, like I said earlier, our community is focused on much more than just getting you to achieve your race time goals. We offer a tremendous amount of support to our runners, whether it’s showing up to cheer people on race days or providing fantastic training materials and advice, we are committed to connecting like minded people.
Are you affiliated with any events?
Not at the moment. Right now, we’re keeping focused on growing and supporting our tribes. One thing that we really strive to do is support and raise awareness for local businesses in and around our communities. There are so many quality establishments in the city and we’re always trying to find ways to bring people to these businesses. We want to see our communities thrive.
Where are your favorite spots to run in/around the Chicago area?
This is tough, there are so many! The Pilsen neighborhood is a fun area and close to the lake and downtown so, you get some excellent views of the city. Portage Park has a number of connected trails that make it an interesting place to run. Bensenville has some really cool tracks to run. I like the Cicero area because you can run through the entire township and feel like you started and finished in a completely different place, and in Midway you get an amazing vibe, people come out of their homes and start cheering us on, sometimes even joining in on our group run!
I will say that it is not the locations that we run that make the Warriors awesome, it is our supportive coaches and the leadership of our board members. In addition, our members really support the idea that in order to be successful you must first achieve together.
Another question about favorites. If you had to give an out-of-towner a list of three races in Chicago to attend, where would you send them?
This is another tough one. There are so many great races in and around Chicago that it’s unfair to really single out three! For someone just visiting, I’d say you have to run the Chicago Marathon, the Rock ‘N’ Roll Half and also the Chicago Half. These are all great races to check out. This year we have 67 Warriors running the Chicago Half. It’s going to be a really enjoyable event!
There are so many great running events happening all year around that anyone visiting can rest assured there is always a great event going down!
Sounds like we should book a plane ticket out there! Before we go is there anything else we should know about the Warriors?
I just want to say that it’s been an amazing past two years. I’m feel extremely humbled at how much I’ve seen our membership grow in such a short amount of time, and how committed our members are to creating an open and supportive running community. We enjoy connecting with other runners so if you’re reading this and ever find yourself in the Chicago area, come out and join one of our runs!
I would like to thank our coaches Jerry Medina, Guillermo Gomez, Cinthya Osuna, Jason Pence, Pedro Garcia, Celia Corral, Eduardo Cejas and assistant coach Evelyn Annable for always being professional and always pushing our members to be better than they were yesterday. I would like to especially mention our awesome board members, Sandy Barrera, Rocio Vallejo, Veronica Ochoa, Claudia Hernandez and Erico Barrera for helping create a framework that other groups strive to create to promote changes within their own communities.
Joe, thanks for taking the time to tell us more about the group!
For the whole article go to: http://runguides.com/article/8/Running-Clubs/Get-To-Know-Your-Running-Clubs-The-Warriors-Running-Group